In an exclusive conversation with India Today as part of the E-Conclave Jump Start Series, top executives and industry leaders discuss the economic crisis trigerred by the novel coronavirus outbreak and the ensuing lockdown.

A man paints a graffiti on a street in New Delhi on May 4 (Photo Credits: PTI)

President of the Walt Disney Company (APAC) and Chairman of Star & Disney India, Uday Shankar, Chairman and CEO of the Edelweiss Group, Rashesh Shah, Founder and CEO of Kinetic Green Energy and Power Solutions, Sulajja Firodia Motwani join India Today’s Rahul Kanwal for the E-Conclave Jump Start Series along with Vice Chairman and MD of JK Paper and Director of JK Organisation Harsh Pati Singhania, former Country Head HSBC and former FICCI president Naina Lal Kidwai and Joint MD of Apollo Hospitals Group and President of FICCI Dr Sangita Reddy.

As of May 4, the novel coronavirus has infected over 42,000 people in India while claiming the lives of 1,389. The country has been in a state of nationwide lockdown first enforced on March 25 till April 14, later extended to May 4 and now pushed further to May 17 with relaxations on restrictions for some industries. The scale of the economic impact of this crisis is yet to be ascertained.

How much impact does the crisis have on the media sector?

Uday Shankar: On the advertising side, the sector is a bell-weather sector. It tells you the story earlier than any other sector. The first thing businesses do in times of crisis is cut down on advertising. We have seen widespread cutbacks in advertising, it is 30 per cent of the earlier business.

What has been the aftermath in the financial services sector?

Rashesh Shah: This is unprecedented. It happened at the end of the financial year and we were in shock. What is happened in the last few days, we have seen interventions in India and across the world.

What is giving the markets hope?

Rashesh Shah: With the RBI and other banks stepping up, people know that this is as bad as it gets. Consumers may not come back, but we saw this in April when there were zero sales. Interest rates coming down, in the long-term, prices coming down in India is great. As the global supply chains away themselves from China, India could be one of the beneficiaries.

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